Carrots have been shown to have antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Carrots have been shown to suppress inflammation, promote good vision, and be cardioprotective. Carrots are an excellent dietary source of vitamin A (converted in the body from beta-carotene and alpha-carotene) and fiber, and contains some vitamin C and B vitamins, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. In addition to various carotenoids, carrots contain other bioactive compounds such as falcarinol, sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol, and various lignans, all of which have been shown to have, or are suspected of having, anti-cancer activities. Purple carrots also contain delphinidin. Consumption of carrots has been found to be associated with reduced risks of esophageal, lung, colon, bladder, urothelial, cervical, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating carrots
Consumption of carrots has been found to be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in numerous (but not all) population studies. This protective effect appears to be due to the interaction of multiple components of carrots, not just the presence of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Higher levels of carotenoids and vitamin A (retinol) in the blood of breast cancer survivors have both been found to be associated with greater likelihood of breast cancer-free survival.
Consuming 8 fluid ounces of fresh carrot juice per day has been shown to raise carotenoids in the blood to levels associated with protection against breast cancer. Supplementation with beta-carotene or with vitamin A will not provide the same beneficial effects as consuming high-carotenoid foods such as carrots and in fact these supplements have been associated with increased risk of certain cancers (e.g., lung cancer).
Non-organic carrots must be washed very thoroughly to remove pesticide residue. The original carrots were purple in color and purple carrots are still available. Purple carrots contain beneficial anthocyanins in addition to carotenoids.
Like carrots and celery, parsnips are a member of apiaceae family. However, parsnips lack the high levels of carotenoids found in carrots, or the apigenin and luteolin found in celery. Therefore, parsnips are inferior from a chemopreventive perspective.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a list of studies that includes less recent research, please click on carrots.